Bills hire Sean McDermott as their new head coach

The Bills ended their latest head-coaching search Wednesday, agreeing to hire Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott to succeed the fired Rex Ryan, a source told ESPN's Dan Graziano.

McDermott recently completed his sixth season as the Carolina Panthers' defensive coordinator, a year after helping lead the team to the Super Bowl.

Under Rivera, Sean McDermott's defenses have consistently ranked in the top 10 at forcing turnovers, and his scoring defense ranked in the top 10 in both 2013 and 2015, which saw the Panthers win the NFC South and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Since the year 2000, the Bills have had eight head coaches, and on a few occasions, the coaches coming into their new jobs have kept working with quarterbacks that were layover quarterbacks from the season before with the Bills.

With coach Doug Marrone leaving the organization, the Bills attempted to keep their top-5 defense intact by hiring a proven defensive guru in Ryan.

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McDermott has served as the Panthers' defensive coordinator since 2001 and before that, worked his way up with the Philadelphia Eagles.

This helps to confirm fan suspicions that should McDermott take a promotion to head coach elsewhere, the team intends to act decisively in promoting Wilks to take his spot.

Of course, if Lal doesn't get the job in Philadelphia, the decision will ultimately rest in the hands of McDermott if he wants to retain Lal in Buffalo-something that would make at least one Bills wide receiver very happy.

Carolina finished 21st in yards allowed, giving up 500-plus yards three times. The Bills' last playoff game was the Music City Miracle game against the Tennessee Titans in the 1999 AFC Playoffs.

McDermott was interviewed by the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday, but he was apparently as impressed with the Bills as they were with him. That's kind of how I was as a player, and I ended up coaching the spring of my fifth year when [William & Mary] coach [Jimmy] Laycock approached me and asked if I wanted to give it a try. The deal was reached shortly after McDermott conducted his second interview with the team in eight days. The Bills went 8-8 in his first season, marking just their fifth non-losing campaign during the recent stretch.